Many people come in to therapy looking for ways to radiate more confidence in their lives, it is certainly a quality many of us feel we would like more of.  In my regular Wellbeing Workshops, it is also the most popular session I teach and most requested by companies for their employees.

Yet real inner confidence is often not as simple to acquire as we may think. If you think about the people you know who seem the most overtly confident, perhaps in social situations, you might be seeing their mask on to the world and in reality they may be quite insecure.

Confidence is the externalisation of good, solid self esteem, (think of confidence as the way we project ourselves in to the world like a cinema projector), high self esteem is the key to a clear projection in to the world and it can’t be faked.

I think of solid self esteem as our internal sense of our selves; those with good self esteem are good at putting in boundaries, speaking up for themselves, unlikely to stay in dysfunctional relationships and often confident in their own opinions and don’t need lots of advice from others. Most importantly good self esteem encourages compassion for our selves and others, we don’t beat ourselves up if we mistakes and our self talk is encouraging and supportive.

Good self esteem starts in childhood, with reflective parenting, where our qualities as a person are appreciated and reflected back to us and unconditional love is the key. If you think as self esteem as a full bank, most of us are born with lots of potential self esteem but abuse, bullying, nonreflective parenting, conditional love and loss, all deplete this bank and reduces our funds.

The wonderful thing is, although we may have depleted self esteem we can build it up again ourselves, regular deposits in to our self esteem bank can build up our reserves and even bring us out of the red!

In therapy we work to build self esteem through tackling negative self talk and finding a coaching inner voice. Spending time on ourselves, listening to what we need and putting in solid boundaries to feel safer. Feelings like hope, gratitude and self compassion are the mega deposits that send self esteem rocketing. This all takes time, but I know from working with clients, it is never too late and always worth the effort.

Once our self esteem bank is full, we will find our self confidence radiates more clearly in the world and with less effort, we appear to be more comfortable in our own skin and more able to love ourselves and others.